Why Choose Geography as an Optional Subject for the UPSC Civil Services Exam?

why choose geography as an optional subject for upsc

Geography as an Optional is a versatile and interdisciplinary subject that can be a valuable asset for civil service aspirants. It is a scoring subject, with a lot of overlap with the General Studies syllabus.

Advantages of geography optional for UPSC

Here are some of the reasons why an aspirant should consider choosing Geography as an optional subject for the civil services exam:

  • Relevance: Geography is a highly relevant subject in today’s world. It is essential for understanding the physical and human dimensions of our planet, as well as the challenges we face as a global community. Climate change, natural disasters, and resource scarcity are just some of the issues that are becoming increasingly important in the 21st century. A strong understanding of geography can help civil servants to address these challenges effectively.
  • Scoring: Geography is a scoring subject in the UPSC mains exam. There are a large number of questions that are based on factual knowledge, which can be easily prepared for. There are also a number of map-based questions, which can be highly rewarding if answered correctly.
  • Overlap with General Studies: The syllabus for Geography overlaps with a number of topics in the General Studies syllabus. This means that studying Geography can help you to improve your score in the General Studies papers, as well as your optional paper.
  • Interdisciplinary: Geography is an interdisciplinary subject, which means that it draws on a range of other disciplines, such as history, economics, and politics. This can give you a broad perspective on the world, which can be valuable for civil servants.
  • Easy to understand: The concepts in Geography are relatively easy to understand, compared to some other optional subjects. This makes it a good choice for aspirants who are not natural science or humanities students.
  • Opportunity to use diagrams and flowcharts: Geography is a subject that lends itself well to the use of diagrams and flowcharts. This can be a great way to illustrate your points and to show your understanding of the subject.
geography optional for upsc

Overall, Geography is a valuable and rewarding optional subject for the civil services exam. It is a subject that is relevant, scoring, and interdisciplinary. If you are looking for an optional subject that can help you to improve your chances of success in the civil services exam, then Geography is a good option to consider.

Additional benefits of choosing Geography as an optional subject:

  • Geography can help you to develop a strong analytical and problem-solving skills. The subject requires you to understand the interrelationships between different physical and human factors, and to use this understanding to solve problems. This can be a valuable skill for civil servants, who are often faced with complex problems that require creative solutions.
  • Geography can help you to develop a global perspective. The subject teaches you about the different cultures and environments of the world, and how they interact with each other. This can give you a valuable understanding of the challenges and opportunities that we face as a global community.
  • Geography can help you to develop your communication skills. The subject requires you to write clear and concise essays and to present your ideas effectively in both written and oral form. These skills are essential for civil servants, who need to be able to communicate effectively with a variety of stakeholders.


Large syllabus: The geography syllabus for UPSC is vast and covers a wide range of topics, from physical geography to human geography. This can be daunting for students who are not familiar with the subject.

Challenging: The geography questions in the UPSC exam can be challenging, as they require a deep understanding of the subject. This can be a challenge for students who are not confident in their knowledge of geography.

Competition: Geography is a popular optional subject, so the competition can be fierce. This means that students need to score highly in order to be successful.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to choose geography as an optional subject for the UPSC exam is a personal one. Students should carefully consider their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the challenges and advantages of the subject, before making a decision.

So, these are the benefits that you may reap if you choose Geography as the optional subject. However, you should understand that you should know about your preferences as well.

For understanding your match with the subject, go through the NCERTs of class XI and XII, identify the topics that you have studied from the UPSC syllabus and then try to write answers for some questions from the Previous Years’ Questions.

This will help you in understanding your match with the subject. If you are comfortable in writing your first few answers (just like a starter) then it will give a lot of confidence.

Free UPSC MasterClass
This is default text for notification bar